2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

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Randy W
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Hi all,
Have been lurking for years, just now joined. Soooo much great information!
I am seriously considering getting a Zapino, mainly because they have moped stealth and can (reportedly) go 40+ MPH. My main question concerns the future availability of parts; hub motor and controller especially. Does the Zapino share parts with other Chinese scoots that are still supported, like maybe X-Treme? Don't want to chuck the whole bike when a controller dies...
I'm also aware that I'd be getting 3-year old batteries that have not been maintained, so we'll see how THAT goes...
Am open to suggestions of alternative scooters that register as a moped but can be made to go faster.
Thanks for any comments,
Randy

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

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djkees
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Hi Randy,

I have a 2008 with over 3000 KM, and have had no problems. I can't speak to parts availability, but I would hope Zap still carries some. I think their right there in Santa Rosa aren't they? Batteries shouldn't be a problem, since those are available from many suppliers.

I haven't been shopping for scooters for a few years, so I'm not sure what else is out there nowadays. I know the Zapino was the most powerful scooter in it's class in 2008.

What are they asking for a 2008? Is it used? How many KM?

Randy W
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Hi DJKees,
Thanks for the reply. Good to hear that you've gotten 3000 trouble-free kM out of your Zapino. The brushless motor is a blessing (and a curse). Brushed motors, at least on my two EVT scoots, are problematic, but can usually be repaired. Brush dust and dirty commutators being the issues. Also, any controller can be put in place of the original. The Zapino motor/controller is a marriage, being a 6-phase? AC design; if either fails, the scooter is junk.
ZAP, here in Santa Rosa, is blowing-out their Zapino stock at $999.00 (plus Tax, License and Doc) Couldn't resist. Tried to get a red one, but settled for basic black. To me, this also says that they're washing their hands of the whole thing; no more support. I will attempt to clarify, and report back.
Still haunting this (VisforVoltage) site. Some say the Zapino is an E-Fun clone?
Looking forward to keeping-up with traffic!
Cheers,
RandyW
Santa Rosa

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

KWC
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Randy,

Would be interested to see how your "new" 2008 does, as per your concern that the batteries have not been exercised as you stated. How are you doing so far with range etc? and are you running on the FAST mode or on economy? I am in a similar connundrum. I helped a friend who was a scooter dealer sell his stock of gas scooters as he was in failing health. He is now deceased and I now have three brand new unregistered 2008 Zapinos, red, green and blue in my garage in Illinois with only a few demo miles on each. The fact that "retail" was $3500 and the dealer cost was $2100 is kind of irrelevent now if Zap is blowing them out for a grand. I'd probably take a grand each for these right now. My problem is having driven them only a few miles, and they SEEM to be ok battery wise, I can't really be sure. Not sure what a buyer would hear from Zap if they said "hey, my 3 year old zero miles on the ODO Zap has a dead battery" Any thoughts? Is your feeling that Zap would turn a deaf ear to your warranty issues? I did get them to successfully replace an ignition switch for one of them that was bad from the get-go. I also think my 3 zaps at $1000 each would be a perfect score for someone looking to buy and immediately upgrade / tweak with the fancy chargers, Lithium batteries etc, that way they are starting with a brand new scoot.

Keith

Randy W
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Just picked-up the Zapino this morning, and so far, I LOVE it. Throttle response was much better than the demo unit I tried 2 days ago. That one (beisdes being Lime Green ewwww...) went from 0 to 30 percent with no in-between. Ride quality very nice, compared to my EVTs. I got a couple of miles before I realized that it was topping-out at 27 MPH, GPS.
Brought it back to the warehouse, needing to verify that the Mechanic had switched it to "race" mode as I had asked. He said he did, but they took it the panel off and found it had switched itself back to "economy" mode. Guess the switch rattled against something...(or they forgot to switch it, in the first place?) After that, it is totally great. Fast enough to keep up with city traffic, 41 MPH, GPS. Exactly what I wanted!
When I was almost home it was getting sluggish, and the voltmeter was dipping into the red. Not good for an 18 kM trip. Put it on the charger, and was prepared for a 10-hour cycle. Charger went to "green" after only 4 hours. This tells me that the batteries have suffered from inactivity over the last 3 years. I need to run it through a few more charge-discharge cycles to see if these can be "restored", or whether I need to whine to the Dealer about getting a set of newer batteries. Unfortunately, it has been raining for most of the day, so no more riding. I have just turned on the headlight Hi-beam to accomplish a (slow) discharge cycle. Also noted that the brake light is stuck ON, so will see about that when I go back to the dealer tmmorrow to finish paperwork.

So, Keith: Sorry to hear about your friend. I wouldn't sell youself or your inventory short. Just because ZAP in CA is selling these for $1000, that doesn't mean YOU have to. All depends on supply and demand, in your area. People in your neck of the woods would have to pay $300.00 - 400.00 for crating and shipping, and they'd still have no local dealer to depend on. If they're more scarce in Illinois, you can charge a higher price. Just be aware that you may need to take a bit of a hit if the batteries are bad.
I'm trying to figure-out how to talk you into trading your RED plastic for my BLACK plastic. I really like the red (maroon) color.
I couldn't get a straight answer about continued support. The Mechanic said "The motors and controllers come from China, you'd just have to contact them." Uh-huh. He went on to say they had plenty of cunsumable parts like tires and batteries.
ZAP is, at best, disorganized. I've followed them since their birth, watched my stock holdings with them go to zero, seen them have stuff on display that never became available. But: this is one rockin' scooter. Even if I have to pay for a new set of batteries out-of-pocket, it's well worth it!
That's all I know, so far.
Cheers,
RandyW
Santa Rosa, CA
EVT 168
EVT 400
ZAP Zapino!

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

djkees
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Congratulations Randy, I hope you have as much fun with yours as I do mine. I should add that I have been bank charging my batteries from day 1. I lurked here for a long time as well, and it seemed unanimous that that was the way to go. Hopefully you're pack will come back to life. I commuted 15 miles each way everyday for a while. I charged at work and at home. A couple days I ran a quick errand after work...probably adding about 3 miles. I barely made it home one day. I think 20 - 25 miles is the absolute max in non-governed mode. The way you ride can make a big difference too. I learned early on to coast as much as possible. The Zapino seems to be great at it. I would barely slow down when I started a coast from high speed.

Have Fun!

Dan

Randy W
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Have been riding (flogging) it, and recharging with reckless abandon. Seems to go about 25 kM (not miles) and battery charger takes only 4 hours before shut-off. So the batteries are at about half-capacity? Hope this improves over time. Too much fun!
Best price I've found on a pack of 5 B&B EVP 35-12 SLAs is $265.00, plus shipping. $323.50 to me, here in CA. BatterySharks.com
Learned a potentially useful tip from the ZAP people today. There have been several cases of people using the TRUNK key in the IGNITION switch, and damaging the switch. I used a 1/4-inch drill to put a "dimple" in the plastic part of the key, so I can feel which is the correct key.
Happy scootering!

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

Randy W
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Re: More "New" Zapinos available

Well, I feel like a numnutz for replying to my own posts, but there IS good news.

I got the call I was hoping-for, this morning. Looks like someone in FL has backed-off his order for 30+ 2008 Zapinos from the CA warehouse. So, the warehouse now has a bunch of Zapinos that were previously committed, that they can now sell, all colors. So, being the impulsive child that I am, I bought a red one, which is what I wanted, originally. The black one will now be for buddies to ride and, eventually, spare parts. Just spreading the word that there are more available at $999.00, at ZAP in Santa Rosa. (I am not, in any way, profiting from this post.)
Still no conclusive response concerning support. As mentioned in another thread, (Keith's Connundrum) ZAP support is iffy. AYOR; At Your Own Risk. Sufficiently disclaimered? Go for it, if you're brave enough! They really are nice scoots, when de-restricted. Next step: LiOn batteries, to get some reasonable range.
Zoom-zoom,
RandyW

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

djkees
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Re: More "New" Zapinos available

Thanks for the update Randy, it's tempting to buy one for parts. However, I think I'm going to upgrade to an E4000 LI-ION scooter once my Zapino croaks.

KWC
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I have 3 in the midwest.....unrelated to the Santa Rosa lot

Anybody interested at $1000 each?. I have a red one, blue one, and a green one with a topcase. All are new 2008's with a cert of origin, never registered or titled. All have a few demo miles. I've seen a member here who found battery sets for $300. So even if these original batteries don't last, you will have a new Zapino with new batteries for $1300, originally a $3500 scoot. Keith 217-377-5317. If you need a personal reference, my ebay username is VUSI, 2500 positives and zero negatives. Direct email is: keith.carr@mchsi.com

KWC
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Randy
Your Zap has a trunk key? Do you mean the underseat storage area? or a topcase? Mine only has an underseat storage area that opens by turning the ignition key to the left, and there is no separate key cylinder to open it from the back of the scooter. Also, to clarify, the batteries you list above for $323.50 are a full set of standard batteries similar to the ones that come with it, NOT the Li-Ion upgrade batteries, correct? Have you bought new batts or are you "exercising" the batteries that came with your two scoots? any sign of them waking up or lasting longer now that you have a few discharge cycles through them? Guys with three of these things want to know! Thanks, Keith

Randy W
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Hi Keith, and Group...
The Zapinos that are at the ZAP warehouse in Santa Rosa come with top-case; a very pleasant suprise! AND, it fits a full-face helmet, which I highly recommend. The jaw and teeth you save may be your own! The keys for the scoot and the top case are very similar. Another trick to ease the strain on the ignition switch is to turn the key CLOCKWISE to open the seat. At least that's the way it is on mine.
The price I quoted was for a replacement set of SLA batteries, similar to what was provided with the scooter. I was checking this out, because I STILL don't know if my battery pack was damaged by sitting for 3 years. Anybody share what mileage they're getting, and approximate charge time?
All I can say, at this time, is that driving style makes a TON of difference. The mileage-killers are HARD accelleration, ANY accelleration, top speed and length of continuous use. So far, I've gotten anywhere from 15 to 30 KM out of a charge. The 30 was when I took it easy, and had a number of errands to do. The batts recovered somewhat during stops. Watch your fuel guage, which is just a volt meter. Try to drive with minimum "dip".
No definite answer, yet, on whether exercising the batts is helpful.
Am trying to contact Electric Green Showroom, in San Carlos, because they can make-up the LiOn battery packs, and can do the necessary conversion. Have had no luck with either email or telephone. Anybody have an inside track on these guys?
Still having a ton of fun!
RandyW
Santa Rosa

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

Randy W
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Well, here I go again, replying to my own post...
Just got off of a conversation with Taylor Smith, who USED TO have Electric Green Showroom. Nice guy who still maintains the phone number to help previous clients. We talked about:
LI-ON CONVERSION: They used 40-AH Thundersky cells to make a 58-volt pack. Lower top speed, but longer life and high continuous output during the discharge cycle. Top speed lower only because they couldn't fit one more cell in. Also did some 60-AH conversions, but was a pain because of the modification of battery compartment.
SLA BATTERIES: Helps to baby them for the first few cycles, rather than running them balls-out, (like I did). Still not a significant difference; maybe an extra month? over the life of the pack.
BANK VS. SERIES CHARGING: If you're a serious Tech-head, may be worth doing. Otherwise just drive it. (My additional comment: Replace the batteries all at once, from the same lot to, hopefully, prevent imbalance.)
MILEAGE ON A CHARGE: 200-lb man got 15 miles. 130-lb woman got close to 30 miles.

That's all I got, for now,
Scoot on!

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

Randy W
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Well! I am NOT amused!
Just hit 100 KM, on the red one, 4 days old, was out riding with my buddy who just picked-up a "new" one and my ignition switch broke. Had to haul it home in my minivan. Film at 11...
The key just kinda spins around. And I am not Joe Sixpack; I have a "feel" for mechanical stuff. We'll see, firsthand, how the support is. Stay tuned.

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

rossasaurus
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Hi Randy,

Maybe you didn't know it, but you're near one of the best ev resources around, The Blue Sky Center in Sebastopol.
I have shop space there, but I'm directing you to Thunderstruck-EV, who can put together a lithium pack for you, no problem; or you can source cells there and do it yourself. They usually stock Thundersky, HiPower and CALB LiFe cells of most capacities, and they have a fairly affordable BMS of their own design.
They've been at it for 10 years or more too.
827.7973 M-F 9-4

BTW, we had this week a woman bring in her old ZAP! friction bike; we all told her repeatedly "no way the battery would be any good after ...10 years in her garage", uncharged. The tires were cracked and powdered, but not knowing any better, she threw it on the charger, it holds a charge, and it still runs after 10-years, with it's lead acid zombie pack. Don't know how far she'll get, but pretty amazing it could still go at all.

good luck,
Ross
eMotors/ Velo Verde

KWC
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

....same eaxt thing happened to my red one at 77 miles, you have to be very gentle turning the key....Zap replaced the whole ignition assembly (snet me the part, I had to install) it but werent't happy about it, i kind of got the impression that the ignition switch was my one freebie and after that....I was on my own, interested to see what they tell you....My red one is on ebay, $999 reserve, will see what happens

Keith

Randy W
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

The guys at ZAP replaced the switch the following day, no charge, no questions. Appears to be a slightly heavier-duty unit. Super service, thanks to Angelo.

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

Wheelie_Boy
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Bought my 2008 as a demo a year and a half ago with the original batteries. I just replaced them in April for $360, bought locally.

My commute, 4 days a week, is 12-1/2 miles each way with some pretty intense hills, and I weigh 230 lb. I charge at work and at home, but I drive in race mode because I need that 40 mph at one point on my route, crossing under a freeway overpass in traffic with a 45 mph speed limit.

I drive conservatively otherwise, coasting all I can and keeping my speed to 25-30 mph. And I love it!

--Moe Pitman
Austin, TX

prescottotto
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Thanks for all of your info Randy. After reading the your first entries, I bought a blue one (Out of Red again!) and they shipped it to me in Prescott, Az for $260. It arrived on May 10th in a nice metal framed crate and I unwrapped it and put it on the charger for the night. The next morning I rode it 25 miles round trip in city traffic to the DMV where I discovered that ZAP had failed to sign the MCO nor had they signed the odometer statement. It was quite sluggish by the time I got home (Whew!). I charged it for a couple of hours, then left for Mexico for a week and put it back on the charger Tuesday when I got back. It rained all of yesterday, but I took it out today after the new owner had signed the back of the MCO and then I got it titled and insured. Maybe 12 miles today including a trip to Home Depot and it was still zippy. I am still in the factory speed mode. I weigh 170 and drive like an old man.

Question though, What does ABS mean in Chinese? I can drag my back wheel any time I want and there is no indication of automotive type ABS. I had ABS on a BMW and it reacted auto style.

So thanks again for being the test pilot.

Otto

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Randy W
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Hi Otto,
Congratulations! For all of our sake, I hope these continue to run strong, and that ZAP continues to stock spares. These scoots seem to be built better than the average Chinese gassers or electrics. Of particular note, the motor and controller barely get warm, even under hard use.
I had a nightmare 2-stroker once. Fortunately I couldn't register in in CA. If I were to have ridden it for any length of time, it would have killed me!
Regarding ABS; I have read enough (badly) translated brochures and manuals. Somebody was probably thinking "ABS" and "hydraulic" are the same thing. They ARE good brakes, though!
Cheers!

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

zapete
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Randy: I recently acquired a 2008 Zapino. It is a new unit. I am only able to get up to 30 mph max. I would like to switch to the "race" mode. What panel needs to be removed to get to the switch? It seems it should be easier to go from "economy" to "race" mode. Thanks for you input.

Randy W
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Hi Pete,
Welcome! Nice to have a fellow Santa Rosan aboard!
Below the front of the seat, just above the floorboard is an oval panel secured by one phillips screw. Inside, you'll find a little switch, just hanging by a couple of wires. Change it to the other position.
The speculation is that ZAP avoided a lot of licensing trouble by slowing it down and importing it as a 30-mph moped, rather than a 42 mph motorscooter. Also, in Economy mode, it increases the number of miles you can go on a charge. We LIKE 'em this easy!
No burnouts in front of the nice Policeman, now... ;-))
Cheers!

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Randy W
Santa Rosa, CA
2 ZAP! Zapinos

zapete
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Randy: Great advice. Now I can ride it like a real motor bike. I actually got it up to 45 mph yesterday. Just to chime in about ZAP, they have offered great support. My battery charger was not working when I got the scooter and they swapped it for a new one. Hope to see you out on the streets of SR.

davidscooter
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

All,

If you peruse this website, you'll see that it's full of people who are experiencing early failures of their electric scooters. It's not that they can't make a reliable electric scooter - it's that small manufacturers can't make a reliable electric scooter at a price that people are willing to pay. When you can buy an 85 mpg gasoline scooter for $2500, it makes it tough for a consumer to justify paying 2-3 times more than that for a reliable electric scooter. I owned 2 electric scooters (an eGOII and an EVT4000 modified to 72V) before I got sick of the frequent breakdowns, and having no local shop to fix them. I now own a 125cc gasoline scooter, I get 85 to 90 MPG, and there are 2 local shops that can do maintenance on it.

Unless you have very good DIY mechanical and electronic skills, and lots of patience, forget getting an electric scooter (at least until Honda or other major manufacturer comes out with one).

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David

LeftieBiker
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

davidscooter wrote:

All,

If you peruse this website, you'll see that it's full of people who are experiencing early failures of their electric scooters. It's not that they can't make a reliable electric scooter - it's that small manufacturers can't make a reliable electric scooter at a price that people are willing to pay. When you can buy an 85 mpg gasoline scooter for $2500, it makes it tough for a consumer to justify paying 2-3 times more than that for a reliable electric scooter. I owned 2 electric scooters (an eGOII and an EVT4000 modified to 72V) before I got sick of the frequent breakdowns, and having no local shop to fix them. I now own a 125cc gasoline scooter, I get 85 to 90 MPG, and there are 2 local shops that can do maintenance on it.

Unless you have very good DIY mechanical and electronic skills, and lots of patience, forget getting an electric scooter (at least until Honda or other major manufacturer comes out with one).

It depends on what you want. Used Leptons (like mine) are a bit low on top top speed but otherwise well built and long-lived if not terribly abused. At least the SLA version is, and most of the nickel-zinc models now have SLA batteries. X-Treme makes a good scooter but the build quality, while at first "awful," has now been upgraded to "mediocre." Still, once you get the bugs out they are fun. I like being able to putter along for 30 miles in Low Power mode, but be able to switch (while riding, if you are careful) to High and go 43MPH. I see a lot of people here like to mod their scooters and mopeds. That's a big part of the high failure rate in most cases, IMO. I'd like to see more people modding for reliability instead of more speed. ;-)

davidscooter
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

I see people having problems with their unmodified electric scooters also. On this thread, for instance, the rider is having early problems with his unmodified Zapino scooter. This is why the V is for Voltage forums are so useful: people can read the forums and see which scooter models are relatively more reliable.

DAvid

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David

LeftieBiker
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

davidscooter wrote:

I see people having problems with their unmodified electric scooters also. On this thread, for instance, the rider is having early problems with his unmodified Zapino scooter. This is why the V is for Voltage forums are so useful: people can read the forums and see which scooter models are relatively more reliable.

DAvid

Oh, I didn't mean that unmodified ones were trouble-free! (At least not since the Lepton.) The Zapino sounds like the X-TReme in that you have to get the bugs worked out when you first acquire it.

davidscooter
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Interesting thread in Lepton scooter
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zapete
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

My 2008 Zapino is experiencing intermittent problems upon acceleration. When I have the throttle on full it sometimes feels like the motor is cutting off. I back off the throttle and power comes back on. This can be very unsettling with an SUV on your tail. I took it to Jeff at Voltage Vehicles here in Santa Rosa. His computer did not show any faults. However he experienced the same problem during a test ride. He is suggesting I replace the motor and/or controller to see if that is the problem. Has anyone had this problem? If so, is there an easier and cheaper fix? I have put about 2400 miles on the scooter since May of this year when I acquired it new. Like the scooter, but need to solve this problem if I am going to keep riding. Contacted ZAP. Not a lot of help there.

Mountain chen
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

It maybe battery low voltage and dead.

Is it greensaver battery or B.B battery ? how many mils on odometer ?

zapete
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Re: 2008 Zapino a wise buy in 2011?

Battery is fully charged, or at least the battery indicator shows it is fully charged. All indications are that the battery is charging daily as I put about 27 miles on it per day. I do not know what type of battery it is. I will check. I have about 2400 miles on the scooter.

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